In this portrait masters video, photographer Michele Celentano explains her lighting techniques for individuals and family portrait photography. Michele begins with photographing a family of four with the Westcott FJ400, FJ-X2m Universal Wireless Trigger, and a 3×4 softbox with the silver interior. She is also using an Air Direct wireless tethering system by Tether Tools, allowing the shots to transfer to a computer and display her captures instantly.

Michele’s photo session with the family begins by capturing the youngest daughter. Shooting subjects at her age gives Michele the opportunity to be more playful with the shots. Celentano notes that with younger subjects, she likes to spend the first few minutes having fun and letting them loosen up with some silly, expressive portraits. Next, with the 3×4 softbox in a tighter space, Michele places the light modifier above her head while shooting to utilize the distribution of light as a beauty light on her four subjects. Placing a softer light source above them creates even lighting on their faces with an appealing shadow under each of  their chins. Michele explains this lighting produces a more flattering portrait compared to lighting subjects from the side, which often reveals more flaws.

While sprinkling in more family members and alternating them for different visuals, Michele finds it best to capture various posing options for her clients to choose from in the end. She consistently captures different expressions in each shot due to the fast recycle time the FJ400 offers her, allowing her to shoot frame after frame without missing a shot. This is a feature that she finds highly beneficial when photographing kids because of the need to capture the perfect shot before the next subtle movement.

Moving on to her outdoor portrait session with a family of six, Michele walks us through her techniques when incorporating more ambient light. Celentano finds it most useful to feather her Rapid Box Switch Octa-L to create beautiful light quality on her subjects faces with a soft falloff. Because of it’s collapsibility, this light modifier is easy to carry to any outdoor location. Again, noting the fast recycle time of the FJ400 strobe, she is able to capture each moment to moment expression.

Want to learn about shooting indoor portraits with the Rapid Box Switch? Check out tips from Top Pro, Joel Grimes.

Lighting Gear in Action

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